The Visa Interview is the final and most important step in the application process.
Your interviewer at the U.S. embassy will tell you right then and there whether you’ve been approved or denied. In other words, it’s imperative that your interview go well.
Luckily, there’s no need to get stressed. While the interview is extremely important, it’s also very simple and straightforward. All it takes is a little preparation to do well, and this guide will help you make sure you’ve got everything you need to make sure you get approved for your J-1 Visa.
Note: You have to fill out the DS-160 to make an appointment at the U.S. Embassy. If you haven’t already done so, fill out the DS-160 using our step-by-step guide.
How To Prepare
Pay Your Application Fee In Advance
Prior to your interview, you’ll need to make sure you’ve submitted your non-refundable application fee of $160 USD. Embassy rules for collecting this payment vary from country to country.
For specific instructions on how to submit your payment to the embassy in your country, the State Department recommends that you visit your local U.S. Embassy’s website. You can locate your embassy’s contact information by selecting your country on this page and navigating from there.
Make Sure You Bring These Documents With You
Run through the following checklist and make sure you have each item to bring with you to your interview. Failure to do so will result in a delay in your application process, which may cause you to miss your program’s start date!
- Confirmation Page of Your DS-160: They’ll need the bar code on the page. It needs to be printed out and brought with you.
- Receipt for Application Fee Payment
- One 2×2 Photograph, if you were unable to upload yours online. The photo must follow very specific rules.
- Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor: You’ll be provided with this SEVIS-generated DS-2019 form by your program sponsor.
- The DS-7002 Training / Internship Plan
- The original copy of your interview appointment letter
- Original copies of your certificates and / or transcripts
- Proof of intention to return to home country. There are no universally-accepted methods of proof, meaning that it’s up to each candidate to provide sufficient evidence of their intention to return home following their internship or training program.
- Evidence of Financial Ability to Pay Travel Expenses: You will need to show either a bank statement, employment letter, pay slip, or tax return from the past 3 years that proves you have the financial ability to pay for your travel to the United States. If you’re going to be financially supported by your family, you will need to bring the above documents as they pertain to that family member’s financial standing.
Be Ready To Answer These Common Questions
While not every interview follows the same list of questions, there are some common questions that all candidates should already know how to answer in advance. These questions include:
- Why do you want to go to the US?
- What are your qualifications?
- Which university do you attend / did you attend?
- When did you apply for your program?
- How much was your placement fee?
- Who’s going to pay for your expenses? How much is your/their income?
- What is your plan for housing in the United States?
- What will you be doing in the U.S.?
It’s also important that you remember to be respectful towards your interviewer, no matter what. In addition, it helps to keep your answers brief and to-the-point.
If you have dependents who will remain in your home country during your absence, be prepared to explain to your interviewer how their needs will be met while you’re gone.
Show Up On Time
Once you’ve made your appointment, gathered your documents, and figured out how you’ll be answering your interview questions, congratulations! You’re ready for your interview. Now, all you have to do is get there on time.
We recommend arriving 15 minutes early. Arriving early shows that you value your interviewer’s time and that you’re serious about making a good impression.
Still have questions?
Send us an email! We’re always happy to answer any questions, and we’ll do our best to respond as quickly as possible.
We hope this guide has been helpful to you, and we wish you the best of luck in your interview at the U.S. Embassy!